Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

‘The Southern Belle’ – a poem by Polly McCormack

Photo by Dovi on Unsplash


    The Southern Belle


In 1812, when the building was first built, they infused the wallpaper with beetroot juice, 
to achieve the notorious burgundy colour fashionable in most Southern public houses.


When the glasses have been polished
to the point of invisibility,
and the barrels have been stocked and loaded,
I rest my elbows on the brass
and embark on the great feat of erasure.

It is, of course, against my nature
to expel and fold creases into time,
to occupy the space beneath
where wealthy locals fill my tip jar
with copper and tales of
the gross Body of life.

I catch myself often,
refilling shards of ice,
reflecting on identical languages.
I catch myself wishing you were a barfly,
sitting on limes, sucking acid,
buzzing through the door.

But I settle for George,
who tells me each night he could have been an artist,
as he picks plaster from his nail beds,
and drinks another stout.

And the flies, one by one, are electrocuted
into history
by the plastic swatter

and I realise: you are better off wherever you are,
than here.